Your teens may be more concerned this week with planning a huge Halloween bash than with improving their driving skills. However, this week, and every week in the U.S. at least 68 teenagers are killed in motor-vehicle-related tragedies. Since it’s National Teen Driver Safety Week, it’s the perfect opportunity for you to connect with your teen over the topic of safe driving.
While your teen may feel he or she is a safe driver, remind them that even the professionals aren’t immune to driving dangers. Take last weekend’s untimely death of IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon during the IndyCar Series’ Las Vegas Indy 300 auto race.
This week, Tire Rack Street Survival, a national nonprofit teen-driving program, has some tips to help you and your teens stay SAFE on the roads.
Study the Basics: Teach your teen how to perform a quick maintenance check to ensure the car is working properly. Teen drivers should know where the spare tire is located, what to do in emergency situations and the importance of staying current with the oil change schedule, as outlined in the car’s manual. Are the car’s tires inflated correctly? Is there sufficient tread depth on the tires to ensure a safe stopping distance should an unexpected distraction occur? For more tire-related information, go to Cars.com.
Agree on Limits: Remember, your teen’s license is not about your convenience; it’s about his or her life.
— Set limits on your teen’s driving, particularly in high-risk situations such as prom night, social outings and especially in inclement weather.
— Do not let your teen ride with a young driver that has less than a year’s driving experience. — Remember, the greater the number of teens in the car, the greater the level of distraction.
Form a Plan: Have a clear understanding of where your teen is driving at all times, who he or she is with and what route they intend to take. Confirm check-in times with your teen so he or she can provide updates to their plans.
Establish a Backup: Sometimes teens make mistakes and get themselves into situations where other teen drivers have been drinking and they feel stranded. Make sure your teens have a responsible adult they can call, with a code word, if they feel they shouldn’t be driving or are riding with a young driver who’s driving recklessly or under the influence. Safety first, questions later.
Since teens are well-plugged in today, you can take to the internet to help them out. Bendix Brakes for Teen Safety is a campaign on both Facebook and YouTube that offers quick, quirky teen-friendly videos (complete with #$%@ bleep-outs) on topics such as car maintenance and safe driving.
What’s helped you and your teens to communicate openly and establish trusting boundaries about safe driving? Share your tips and ideas in the comment section below.